NSW and the NT Committed to Seafood Country of Origin Labelling

NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant (pictured left) has unveiled a new labelling scheme which will see seafood in NSW restaurants labelled according to its country of origin.

The Australian fishing industry welcomes the announcement.  The industry has been campaigning for truth in labelling either by mandating the now voluntary Australian Fish Naming Standard and/or by removing the exemption that cooked seafood has from Country of Origin Labeling (CoOL).  Raw seafood is already labelled with CoOL.

Under the NSW Government’s proposal, even if the Fish Naming Standard is not mandated, it will be much harder for pubs, clubs and restaurants to continue to use dodgy fish names.  Imagine for instance buying “fish of the day, crumbed Flathead (product of Argentina)” – customers will know it is fake flathead.  CoOL is a broad brush but the move will benefit consumers who have a right to know what they are eating.

Some pubs and clubs have argued that there is nothing wrong with imported fish.  SETFIA agrees and the new CoOL laws in NSW will allow some customers to seek it out.

Mr Grant has promised to work with business, fishing, catering industries and retailers to provide for a new standard, with a proposal to go before Cabinet by the end of the year.

The move adds pressure to the Victoria Government who are lagging behind the Northern Territory and NSW where seafood CoOL is on track.  The Association will write to the Victorian Minister of Agriculture Jaala Pulford who thus far has done nothing for Victorian seafood consumers other than closing well-run fisheries down to appease recreational fishermen.  It has got harder to find locally caught seafood in Victoria and CoOL would help the consumer.